P80481My weekly gardening column does not have much space for everything that should be said about the various topics and featured specie. I just try to fit the most basic of information into the space available, but usually would like to fit more in.

Sometimes, I would like to fit more pictures in too. It can be difficult to select just one camellia, or just one rhododendron. I typically select those that have the best contrast for black and white pictures, just in case some newspapers must deprive them of their color. That often means that I get to select my favorite white flowers rather than their more colorful counterparts. Regardless, there are so many good pictures that do not get seen. Then, there are also many qualities of the subjects that are difficult or impossible to show in pictures.

The dogwood picture that will get posted on Tuesday is pretty good, and happens to be white, but does not show how spectacular the tree that produced the bloom is. I selected a picture that was a close up of the same flowers in the picture below. Unfortunately, even if I had room for another picture, I could not get one that adequately represented the splendor of the tree. The best I could get is the picture above. I might try to get more pictures of pink and red dogwoods in the next few days, but pictures are nothing like the real thing. I had the same difficulty with the flowering cherries. The bloom was spectacular close up, but the trees looked like pink clouds on trunks from a distance.

If you can imagine, the tree in the picture is about twenty feet tall. It can be seen half a block away, through the adjacent deciduous trees. It looks just like a dogwood in Virginia should look, but happens to be right here on the West Coast, where you would not expect to see such an excellent specimen. Does that help?

I used to grow dogwood trees in the mid 1990s. They are not my favorite spring flowering tree because they do not do so well in the Santa Clara Valley. You would not know that by how well they do here on the coastal side of the Santa Cruz Mountains, just a few miles away. There are many specimens in the neighborhood that are comparable to this one. Some are pink. A few are almost brick red. The foliage probably does not color as well in autumn as it would in Virginia, but by our standards, it colors nicely.

Two very happy pink dogwoods are in front of an elegant home of early American architecture that is located just downhill from the white dogwood in the picture above. Even with redwoods and coast live oaks all around, the dogwood trees and home really look like they could be in the vicinity of Virginia. It is obvious why those from the East are so fond of dogwoods.P80481+


25 thoughts on “Prelude to Dogwood

    1. Yes, I really like it. I can not believe how many of them are in the neighborhood, and we may be planting more, as well as flowering cherries. The residents really like them.


  1. I love dogwoods, they are probably my favorite flowering tree. I have a white one and a light pink one. You see them on the west side of the Sierra Nevada mountains and the blossoms look like they are floating in the air under the canopy of the surrounding forest trees. Mine get a little beat up by the summer heat, but they get some shade in the afternoon so they manage to make their way through. I actually get a decent amount of color out of them in the fall, and sometimes even a small second bloom at the end of summer.

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    1. I did not like growing them because I knew that many of them went to the Santa Clara Valley and the East Bay, where they probably were not very happy. However, the ones that I work with now are in a landscape where they are quite happy.

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      1. That’s a good choice of a thing for them to remember from the east. The flowers are beautiful, tho they don’t last too long, and the trees are also attractive. I have a rough leaf dogwood which is entirely different, and gets berries on in the fall. The birds love the berries.

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      2. They brought a few less desirable plants as well, including the invasive black locust!
        There are at least two dogwoods that make nice berries. One is known as the Cornelian cherry.

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  2. I drove by several wild Dogwoods today – Cornus nuttallii. They were covered in those greenish white blooms, and absolutely stunning! In retrospect, I really should have pulled over and gotten some pictures. Such a lovely tree!

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      1. I hear they are rather disease prone (anthracnose), so I generally advice people to choose C. kousa. Such a shame that a native tree has gotten so troublesome to grow. 😦

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      2. Somehow, we did not have much of a problem with that. We had other odd problems though, including mites and powder mildew, which I doubt would be serious problems in the real world. We could have sold more Cornus kousa if we had grown more. ‘Eddies White Wonder’ was a popular hybrid of the Cornus nuttallii with Cornus florida that I would expect to have the problems of both, but it was quite the contrary. It did quite well. I just did not like it because it was so tall and lanky.


      3. It probably does not proliferate because of the drier climate surrounding us. Our region is not as dry as the surroundings, and we do get some of the same sorts of diseases that afflict plants in moister climates. They diseases just are not as bad here.


    1. They really are. It is such a pleasure have ing so many in the neighborhood. I worked near several today. At east two of my friends who live there have spectacular trees in the gardens. One is the white one in the picture. The other is pink.

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  3. Tony, that is a spectacular tree. Dogwood can be easily injured and die (i.e. a lawnmower hits the trunk over and over–think 16 year old son) but the one you show is lovely. In my last home my neighbor had one similar to what you are showing. It was protected between our two houses and simply lovely every spring. Your weather really is just a hop-skip ahead of us in St. Louis. I am now seeing buds on the dogwoods in the neighborhood.

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    1. There are not many home lawns in the neighborhood, and it seems that most of the dogwoods are planted in areas of minimal landscaping. This happens to be a great area for them. They would not be so happy only a few miles away, or just a short distance up the road, outside of the redwood forest, and into the ponderosa pine forest.


  4. Reblogged this on Tony Tomeo and commented:

    As I reblog this old article at the beginning of April (for later in April), the dogwoods have not yet bloomed. After so much grooming during the last three years, they are even more prolific than before.


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